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Public housing and Section 8 tenants face eviction and homelessness for medical marijuana

by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at]
Oakland has 13,586 units in its Section 8 inventory, 2,122 units in its low rent inventory, plus thousands of tenants being publicly assisted in rental units in Oakland operated by nonprofit housing developers that may be threatened with eviction if they are caught using medical marijuana.
Public housing and Section 8 tenants face eviction and homelessness for medical marijuana use

By Lynda Carson - December 13, 2018

Oakland - In these harsh times of conflicting state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana that is currently legal in many states but still illegal under federal law, across the nation public housing and section 8 tenants are facing discrimination, eviction and homelessness for medical marijuana use.

According to a February 10, 2011, memorandum from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) can terminate housing assistance or deny housing to individuals for use of a controlled substance, including medical marijuana. Tenants applying for housing may be denied housing assistance by a PHA or nonprofit housing developer if they admit to using medical marijuana.

An additional 2014 HUD memorandum states that owners of federally assisted housing are required to deny admission to any household with a member who the owner determines is, at the time of application for admission illegally using a controlled substance. In summary, owners must deny admission to assisted housing for any household with a member determined to be illegally using a controlled substance, e.g., marijuana. However, Section 577 of QHWRA affords owners the discretion to evict or not evict current tenants for their use of marijuana.

In other horrible eviction cases, HUD’s one-strike policy has threatened many senior citizens with eviction and homelessness for alleged crimes committed by others, including 4 senior citizens in Oakland, California. The four evictees were all elderly citizens who have not been charged with any criminal activities before the eviction proceedings took place, and were defended in court and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court by Anne Omura, and the Eviction Defense Center. All four were African-Americans. They have resided in public housing for many years, and three of them were elderly women caring for extended families with children, and grandchildren.

Presently, making matters worse for public housing tenants that may face eviction and homelessness for use of medical marijuana, HUD also prohibits cigarette smoking in public housing units across the nation as of July 2018.

Medical Marijuana Users Face Eviction Or Loss Of Housing Assistance

It was just last week that 78 year old John Flicker, a medical cannabis user was evicted from his Niagara Falls apartment. After receiving bad press across the nation for evicting the poor old guy, the landlord reportedly reversed course and allowed Flicker to move back into his apartment last Monday. But by then the damage was already done, and reportedly the program that coordinates his health care has dropped him, leaving the 78 year old man without access to doctors and transportation.

In another case, reportedly last July 2018, Emma Nation was evicted from her federally subsidized apartment by a nonprofit housing developer in Arcata, California, after a maintenance worker was snooping around her apartment and spotted Nation’s medicinal cannabis edibles that was being used for medical purposes.

In a blatant case of legal housing discrimination, 55 year old Lily Fisher of Billings, Montana, was shocked when she was advised that she cannot receive housing assistance after admitting that she had a state-issued medical marijuana card.

Reportedly, “The Billings woman was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. During the treatment, she developed blood clots in her foot, which led to the amputation of the lower part of her leg.

To cope with the pain, her physician prescribed two types of narcotics, hydromorphone and oxycodone. The potentially addictive drugs left Fisher in a constant fog, and she quit them cold turkey before looking to medical marijuana to deal with the pain.”

In Pennsylvania, reportedly 66 year old Mary Cease a public housing tenant was denied a section 8 housing voucher by the Indiana County Housing Authority because she successfully applied for a medical marijuana card and qualified because of pain from multiple back surgeries, in addition to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress.

During April of 2017, reportedly Stonebridge apartments in Washington, D.C. posted some bright orange signs warning tenants that any use of marijuana may result in evictions because it would be considered a violation of their lease.

Trump Official Wants To ‘Legally Permit’ Medical Marijuana In Federally-Subsidized Housing

Reportedly, “Lynne Patton, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regional official who oversees New York and New Jersey, responded on Twitter to a story about John Flicker, a 78-year-old man who was recently evicted from his Niagara Falls, New York, apartment over his use of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain.”

“State & federal law needs to catch up with medicinal marijuana usage & require private landlords to legally permit the same. Period,” Patton wrote. “Regardless, my team is already working with Mr. Flickner & a local grantee to place him in permanent housing again, as anyone else in his boat.”

The crazy federal marijuana laws need to overturned and eliminated because of the harm being done to seniors and others that may, or may not be residing in subsidized housing.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at]

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